Before or at the defendant's first appearance before a court, the presiding judge must order that the defendant be held in custody, released on personal bond, or released on a cash, surety, or 10 percent bond. MCR 6.106(A). The defendant may be ordered held without bond if he or she is charged with a violent felony and either has been convicted of two violent felonies within the previous 15 years or was on parole, probation, or pretrial release for a violent felony. MCR 6.106(B)(1). The court may also deny bond to a defendant charged with criminal sexual conduct in the first degree, armed robbery, or kidnaping with the intent to extort money.
Cash or surety bonds
A cash bond is exactly what it sounds like. The defendant posts the specified amount of cash with the court to guarantee that he or she will appear when required. When the case is resolved and if the defendant has appeared when required, the bond is returned to the defendant. Sometimes real property or a financial instrument may be used as security in lieu of cash. Surety bonds arose because many defendants did not have sufficient cash (or property) available to post bond. For a fee, the defendant pays a third party (usually around 10 percent of the amount specified) to post the bond. If the defendant fails to appear, the third party must either find and produce the defendant or forfeit the full amount of the bond. Although surety bonds allow defendants to post bonds in amounts much greater than they would otherwise be able to post, they are very costly because the defendant is out the entire fee no matter how short a time it takes to resolve the case and he or she always appeared when
Ten percent bonds.
Because it was widely believed that the fees charged for surety bonds were excessive, courts developed programs to allow defendants to pay the 10 percent fee for writing a surety bond directly to the court. If the defendant fails to appear, the police try to find the defendant and the court then goes after whatever assets the defendant has available. If the defendant appears when required, 90 percent of the amount posted is returned. The other 10 percent is used to cover the administrative costs of the program.
Personal recognizance bonds
Although bond is usually set in a specified amount, under a personal recognizance bond the defendant is released on his or her promise to pay that amount if he or she fails to appear. The defendant must also agree not to leave the state without the court's permission and will not commit any crime while released. MCR 6.106(C). If the defendant fails to appear, the police try to find the defendant and the court goes after whatever assets the defendant has available.
What The Court Considers When Setting Bond
ohow long you have lived in the community;
owhether you have relatives or close friends in the area;
oyour ties to the community (for example, whether your client grew up in the area, moved away to go to school and work, or returned to care for an ailing parent);
oyour interests in real property or a business in the area;
oyour employment or schooling and if so for how long;
owhat impact would your client's incarceration have on his or her employment or schooling;
owhether you have any dependents and what impact would incarceration have on them;
oyour involvement in any community or charitable organizations; and
owhat financial resources are available for posting a cash surety bond.
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